Published on May 29th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
“Flame” Computer Virus Discovered In Middle East, Puts Stuxnet To Shame
Virus firm Kaspersky Labs has discovered a new complex computer virus called Flame which has been stealing information from computers in the Middle East for at least the last two years.
Flame has so far been linked to computers in Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
According to Kaspersky the virus is capable of grabbing computer screenshots, recording instant messaging chats, turning on a computers microphones remotely and monitoring keystrokes.
Flame arrives after the discovering of Stuxnet, an attack software that specializes in sabotaging industrial equipment and ultimately was used to destroy centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear facility in 2010 and the virus Duqu which like Flame spies on various computers.
According to researchers Flame has 20 times more code than Stuxnet and is more widespread than Duqu. Flame is currently targeting private computers, private companies and universities across the Middle East.
Alexander Gostev, head of Kaspersky’s global research and analysis team, wrote in a blog post Monday:
‘‘Flame can easily be described as one of the most complex threats ever discovered. It’s big and incredibly sophisticated. It pretty much redefines the notion of cyberwar and cyberespionage.’’
While researchers are not sure who created the Flame virus they suggest that a government agency is likely responsible given the sheer complexity of the viruses code base.